Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why Arguing With the Kids in the Room is OKAY.

When I was younger, my parents fought like their lives depended upon it. An observing anthropologist might have written in a travel diary  "The adult natives appear to actually gain physical energy and sustenance  from battling both verbally and sometimes physically with one another."

I swore, when I grew up my children would never see me argue with my spouse. They would only see the good. The happy. The idyllic.  In short, I was full of shit.

Today, the world pissed in my cornflakes, took a dump in them for added protein and then force-fed them to me while I was being made to watch 'Perfect Cousins' reruns. It was...a challenging day. So, when K came home, I was already full-throttle bitch mode.

K: ...*walks indoors,sets briefcase down*
Me: Hi!
K: Hey, listen, when's dinner ready? Ten minutes, you say? Ok, I'm just going to cut the grass before dinner. 
Me:...(TILT. TILT. TILT! )...Why did you even ask about dinner, then? G'head, cut the damn lawn. I've only got dinner IN THE OVEN and almost ready, but suuuuuuure. 

Now, granted, I kept the curse words to a minimum when D could hear, but she did, in fact, hear us arguing. And you know what? That's ok. Because after a few minutes to cool down, and collect ourselves, she saw this scene, too:

K: Listen, I didn't realize how hard you'd worked to have everything ready when I got home. Let's sit down and have a nice meal. I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention.  
Me: I'm sorry, too. It was a long day and I should have been more flexible. 
K: K. We're good? 
Me: We're good. 
K: Rays game after dinner? 
Me: Sure, but oh my God, have you seen their pitching staff lately? May as well watch the Walking Dead. Fewer zombies....

Sure, she does hear us occasionally lose our cool at one another, but she also sees forgiveness. Tenderness. Compassion. We talk to hear about the fact that sometimes grownups disagree and that yes, she's right, we really should use our indoor voices when we're disagreeing. We work hard at being good to each other, but sometimes marriage and proximity and challenges just push you past the point of sanity. 

The important thing is to forgive swiftly, wholly, and honestly. (And to check with each other about dinner first, because seriously, that damn roast took me an hour.) We are all continually learning more about the people we live with, be they old or young. I like to think that D is learning some pretty good things from us, even when we show her our imperfections. 

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